Are We Approaching the End of the Secular Surge?
February 17, 2022
One of the defining demographic trends of the past several decades has been the rise of the “Nones,” also known as the religiously unaffiliated. The General Social Survey (GSS), which has measured national religious identity since the early 1970s, first identified the spike in nonreligious affiliation starting in the mid-1990s. In recent years, there have been no signs that this trend is slowing down.
However, a recent exchange with Ryan Burge, author of The Nones: Where They Came From, Who They Are, and Where They Are Going, piqued my interest about whether the rate of secular identity may be leveling off. Burge’s analysis shows that younger adults are no longer less religious than the immediately previous cohort. This plateau would suggest that the rate of unaffiliated growth will slow.